There was a Street Fighter before Street Fighter 2, but no one cares.
StoryStreet Fighter’s story spreads across several games in a rather anachronic order. Canonically, it starts with the
The HeroesFrom the Street Fighter Alpha games to 4 (timeline-wise), there are essentially two main packs of heroes, who work with each other from time to time.
The heroes are somewhat archetypal and make for a fun story, but the real driving forces of the stories told are...
One of Bison’s associates is the villain of Street Fighter 4, Seth. Seth is the leader of Shadaloo’s weapons division, S.I.N., and in the events of Street Fighter 4, he took over while his boss was away, prompting Bison to come after him.
Working under Seth is the franchise’s only villainess (not counting Bison's brainwashed female bodyguards): Juri, a hedonistic, psychopathic, masochistic tae kwon do master who was given what seems like a miniature Tandem Engine called the Feng Shui Engine in her left eye. Though it can’t copy moves like the Tandem Engine, the Feng Shui can absorb ki from her surroundings to substantially increase her physical performance, as shown in her ultra combos.
Gill holds the tournament in Street Fighter 3 in order to find the best humans to repopulate the world with after the apocalypse by taking them to a special area of the world that will be safe when Armageddon comes.
The Other GuysThe handful of main characters don't do justice to the sheer volume of characters. Street Fighter has a vast collection of quirky fighters that are minor in the grand scheme of things, each with their own reasons for fighting, be it fame, the prize money or revenge. To name a few: Dee Jay, a Jamaican dancing part machine, Cammy, a British special forces unit who was previously one of Bison's assassins, and Dan, a jokingly pathetic fighter trying to promote his dojo.
Dan Hibiki is a playable mockery Capcom made to insult SNK, specifically the Art of Fighting games, now most known for its characters being in The King of Fighters. His "saikyo" (awesome) fighting style is a lot like the Art of Fighting's Kyokugen style... Only shit. His appearance is also one big composite, having Robert's face, a pink version of Ryo's gi, and some of Yuri's girly mannerisms, plus his dead dad's face looks like Takuma's Mr. Karate mask (though that was changed in the comics).
Dan was essentially conceived as a form of humiliation. You could prove how superior you are to someone else by using Dan as a handicap.
But come Street Fighter 4, the joke's on Capcom. Dan rules!
Almost as if by fate, Dan has been in the crossover games Capcom vs. SNK 2 and SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos with Ryo.
There's also Rufus, who is simply awesome.
MusicComplementing the characters are catchy soundtracks. How the music is handled in Street Fighter varies, but generally they have catchy beats you can tap your foot to and never distract from the fighting. They’re traditional game background music fitting with the stage or characters that, in a way, make you want to keep your groove.
Adding to the combat’s depth, the strength of the buttons used for the command usually determines the move’s strength, speed, and/or range. For example, using the weak button for most special moves may not do as much damage or have less range, but it’s faster and leaves you less open if it doesn’t connect.
Personal fighter of choice: Vega.
The best of the bunchIf there’s any single Street Fighter game I recommend, it’s Super Street Fighter 4. Whether it’s the first Super Street Fighter 4 or any of its updated re-releases, it stands above every Street Fighter game before it. While the Street Fighter Alpha titles are strong on backstory and Street Fighter 3 has unique visuals and characters, Street Fighter 4 has the strongest character count and content. Every character is fully voiced in English, endings are fully animated, there are actual prologues and the stylized 3D is the perfect transition from the 2D titles before it.
Other MediaAs stated in the third paragraph, Street Fighter has a lot of merch outside of the games. Some are promotional tie-ins, such as two OVAs for Street Fighter 4, and adaptations that tell their own stories. There’s the semi-famous live-action movie starring Jean Claude Van Damme as Guile, as well as a 26-episode animated TV show slightly based off of it. Both the movie and show paint Guile as the main hero, who fights the evil forces of M. Bison with other Street Fighters from the games. As you can tell from the premise alone, they deviate from the games in many many areas. Some people like to watch the live-action movie for its cheesiness and Raul Julia’s acting in his final role, but the animated series…
I’ve heard some people like to watch it just to laugh at it, but I doubt anyone has willingly suffered through the entire run and enjoyed it.
As sort of a follow-up, the animation studio behind the Street Fighter 2 animated movie also made a short series called Street Fighter 2V. Unlike the movie, 2V reinterprets the characters of the game in their younger years before the Alpha games came out, so knowing the characters well by this point makes it a bit of a pain to watch, honestly.
If you think this wimpy franchise is badass and action-packed, you’d best be ready for the next post, in which I’ll objectively and completely without bias detail Street Fighter’s rival and SNK’s massive, superior fighting game flagship (because I haven’t gone into detail on it enough already)!